Healthy aging: How to manage stress and stay younger

As per World Health Organization (WHO), healthy aging is a process of developing and maintaining the functional ability that enables well-being in older age.

By Sulogna Mehta  Published on  28 Jan 2023 3:30 AM GMT
Healthy aging: How to manage stress and stay younger

Aging is inevitable and irreversible. But what counts is how healthily one can age. A lot depends on the diet and lifestyle modifications right from when are in their 30s and 40s to age gracefully, look younger, and stay fitter despite the time ticking.

As per World Health Organization (WHO), healthy aging is a process of developing and maintaining the functional ability that enables well-being in older age. It includes a person’s ability to meet their basic needs, to be mobile, to be mentally active to take decisions, and contribute to society. Study links higher serum sodium levels linked to aging and diseases.

Sometimes faulty dietary habits, a sedentary lifestyle, excessive stress, and a hustle culture take a toll on health and hasten the aging process. According to a study published in the journal eBioMedicine, adults with serum sodium levels of more than 142 mEq/L are at an enhanced risk of being biologically older and are also more prone to chronic diseases and premature death.

To examine the link between serum levels of sodium, as a marker of hydration and indicators of health, researchers examined data for 11,255 adults from the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities study. Participants were in their 50s to 90s years of age and didn’t have co-morbidities or high baseline sodium levels. Fifteen health indicators were evaluated during the 25-year follow-up including systolic blood pressure, cholesterol, and blood sugar. Analysis showed that individuals with serum sodium levels of more than 142 mEq/L tended to have more chronic conditions such as heart failure, diabetes, chronic lung disease, peripheral artery disease, and dementia compared to those with mid-range values with a 64 % increased risk.

Participants with higher serum sodium levels showed the presence of faster and more advanced biological aging. The odds of biological aging increased by half (50%) with serum sodium levels greater than 144 mEq/L. Among those with levels above 142 mEq/L, the probability of biological aging increased by 10-15% versus those with sodium levels ranging from 137 mEq/L to 142 mEq/L. Participants with higher sodium levels (144.5-146 mEq/L) also had a 21% higher risk of mortality at a younger age.

The risk of chronic diseases and premature death increased among the study subjects with higher biological aging with hazard ratios of 1.70 and 1.59, respectively. This study showed (though not conclusively) that optimal hydration slows down aging. Since the insufficient intake of fluids increases serum sodium levels, it also highlighted the need to evaluate daily fluid intake among those with serum sodium towards the upper limit of the normal range (135-146 mEq/L), in particular those with heart failure, where a fluid restriction is part of the management to avoid overloading the heart.

Healthy Aging through diet

Nutritionist and lifestyle educator Karishma Chawla says, “Older people need fewer calories compared to younger ones because they carry less muscle and tend to have a slower metabolism. But it’s imperative to pump up nutrients, especially protein, vitamins, and essential fatty acids! The focus must be low GI complex carbohydrates and avoid refined ones. Right from your 30s and 40s, to look younger and feel healthier, consume more protein along with vitamins and minerals. It is also imperative to look at optimal gut health since there is a gut and skin connection and gut and immune system tie up. A robust microbiome helps boost metabolism and also renders the skin a younger look. Add antioxidants in terms of food and supplements to the diet apart from ensuring adequate fluid intake.”

Lifestyle changes

Speaking about healthy aging, Dr. Sravya Tipirneni Reddy, dermatologist, cosmetologist, and trichologist at Manipal Hospitals, avers, “One should not wait to reach their 50s and 60s but preparations should start right from 30s and 40s to be healthy and fit when one age. For that, stay active and opt for a lifestyle with lower stress levels, with a work-life balance rather than giving in to a hustle culture. One should also eat right, stay away from junk food, smoking, substance abuse, etc, take adequate supplements, vitamins, collagens and stay adequately hydrated, and do an annual master checkup of health. All these lifestyle modifications are inculcated from the 30s itself.

For a younger-looking skin

Moreover, skin health is a vital aspect that can make a person look younger or aged by many years. “It is because as the skin ages, it loses elasticity, and collagen and looks saggy, wrinkled, hollow, full of lines. Anti-aging skin care should start in the 30s and 40s and certain non-surgical procedures can be done even in the age bracket 50s and 60s right from the 30s. These include Botox, fillers, and micro-needling radio-frequency skin remodeling procedures. Forma and Morpheus8 for skin tightening, HIFU (High-Intensity Focussed Ultrasound) for firming up sagging skin. For hair growth, Growth Factor Concentrate (GFC) and Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) can opt,” adds Dr. Sravya.


Diet: Ensure good fluid intakes such as lime water, coconut water, veg juices, chia water, flax water, water with fruit slices, basil water, teas including green tea, and chamomile tea. Ensure three servings of protein a day such as lean meat, legumes, dairy, etc.

Add good fats such as avocado, coconut oil, olive oil, nuts, and seeds. Omega three fats come from fish such as salmon, mackerel, and sardines along with omega-3 supplements such as fish oil and vegan DHa.

Take antioxidants such as vitamins - C, and E, resveratrol, glutathione and anti-inflammatory supplements such as omega 3, curcumin, and adaptogens such as Ashvagandha.

For gut health add probiotics in the form of supplements and foods such as fermented veggies and kefir and add fiber-rich whole grains to the diet.


Manage stress, do meditation and sleep well

Attain a work-life balance.

Stay physically active, and do regular exercise.


Various non-surgical procedures can opt for skin tightening, skin re-modeling, anti-sagging effects, and also for hair growth.

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